In December of 2010, TLC (The Learning Channel) shadowed four "extreme couponers" in a show entitled "Extreme Couponing." This show highlighted the extreme methods these four shoppers used to drastically reduce their grocery store bill with the use of coupons. With a few simple tips, any novice couponer can greatly reduce their grocery bill each time they shop. Take these steps to reduce your grocery store bill and save money each month.
Gather coupons. In order to save money with coupons you must get multiple coupons from multiple sources. The most popular source is the Sunday newspaper. However, online coupons are currently popular as well. Many companies have coupons on their websites to entice new or current customers to buy their product. Also, Facebook is a major source for coupons as well.
Watch your grocery store's prices. Most avid couponers have a price book that lists their most purchased items. During each shopping trip, the couponer takes notes of the prices of those items. Each item in the price book has a history of prices over a set time period, typically 6 to 9 weeks, to show the shopper what the lowest price of the item is. This price book gives the shopper a very clear picture of what a low price for an often purchased item is and at what point the purchase should be made. Extreme couponers save the most money by matching a coupon to the lowest price for an item and purchasing those items in bulk. The bulk purchases allow the shopper to stockpile or create an inventory of the item at their home allowing them to wait until the next rock bottom price of the item appears again for the next purchase.
Plan your trip. With the addition of coupons to your grocery shopping, your grocery list becomes even more important. After your have grabbed your store's sales flier, note the items that are on sale at their lowest prices. Match your coupons to the lowest sales prices to net the lowest prices. Many websites, such as SouthernSavers.com and Hip2Save.com, have listings of weekly sales fliers with coupon match-ups to make this process simpler.
Organize your coupons. Before any major shopping trip, a good couponer always organizes her coupons. This is often done by product type or aisles in the grocery store. For example, if the shopper wants to quickly organize her shopping trip, she will place the coupons to be used in an envelope. However, she will organize the coupons based upon the item that she will first come to in the store. So, if she will first pass canned goods and has several coupons for canned food items, those are the first in her envelope. Organization helps to plan our your grocery trips, as well as ensure that all coupons are used and tallied at the end.
Monitor your stockpile and coupons. Keeping tabs on your coupons as well as your stockpile helps to reduce wasteful spending, as well as time spent on the coupon process. Remove expired coupons from your coupon collection as soon as possible and rotate your stockpile to ensure that items are used prior to their expiration date.
Give extras away. Be mindful of your stockpile. Many times if you are purchasing items that are free, you can easily get carried away. If you begin to notice that you have more of one item than your family can use in a reasonable period of time, give the extras to friends and family or community organizations in need.
Ask friends and neighbors for unused coupons. Many people you know do not coupon but get the Sunday paper. To avoid having to spend money on extra copies of the paper when a good coupon hits the circulars, ask friends and neighbors to save you their copy of the Sunday inserts. Pick up the coupons on Monday in order to start your savings.
Watch expiration dates. If buying in bulk, remember to check the expiration dates on the product to ensure that it will not expire before you have a chance to use it. Also, rotate your stockpile so that the newest purchased items are in the back, ensuring that you use the items closest to expiration first.
- sale image by Paul Moore from Fotolia.com